9. Your shall accept scientific consensus

Source: Cáritas Internationalis

A number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.

(LS, 23)

Pope Francis affirms that "a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system" and that numerous scientific studies indicate that, in large part, the global warming of recent years or decades is due to the high concentration of greenhouse gases.

But, is ecology a technical challenge? We can say loud and clear that it is not. As Pope John Paul II pointed out at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, every Christian has an "ecological vocation" that is more urgent today than ever. All Christians must know that it is a threat to life not to heed nature as it deserves, for example, by exploiting natural resources without consideration.  

The benchmark text regarding ecology in the Church is the encyclical Laudato si'. It is an extensive analysis of the ecological threat, elaborated and contrasted together with a list of scientific authorities selected for their specialization in this subject. The ecological crisis not only resides in some causes, such as the obvious weakness of politics (the submission of politics to technology and finance) or the uncontrolled economic exploitation of the Earth. The central origin of this catastrophe must also be sought in the human being himself, in the deterioration of his relational behaviour (the inner relationship with himself, with others, with God and with the earth). Conversion saves the human being, who must learn that "genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others." (LS, 70) Thus, true ecology assumes not only scientific consensus but goes beyond it, for it is at the same time protection of the environment, human ecology, social ecology and cultural ecology.

In this way, putting technique at the service of the care of Creation, Benedict XVI speaks to us about the revision of our values, the need for new rules and forms of commitment that oblige us to an interior reconversion, makes us protagonists and not mere spectators of change and renewal. Specifically, in the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he tells us that it is convenient to make a profound and forward-looking revision of the development model, reflecting also on the meaning of the economy and its purpose, in order to correct its dysfunctions and distortions.

Humanity needs a profound cultural renewal; it needs to rediscover those values that constitute the solid foundation on which to build a better future for all. The crises it is currently undergoing, be these economic, food, environmental or social, are also, at their core, interrelated moral crises.

They force a way of life characterized by sobriety and solidarity, with new rules and forms of commitment, relying with confidence and courage on the positive experiences that have already been made and decisively rejecting the negative ones. Only in this way does the current crisis become an occasion for discernment and new projections.

Without spiritual conversion, and trusting only in technological advances, we will not be faced with a true human ecology, an integral ecology at the service of Creation.

Voices that claim...

Yauna Atamain

Awajún people, Peru

"Many mornings, in the river Marañón entire families woke up because a strong smell did not let them sleep. It was the oil that was passing through the river. The State and the oil company were trying to hide reality. Since the Constitution of the States, from one moment to the next, our territory was not ours and when we tried to claim, we were criminalized. Many people and organizations stood up and said: ENOUGH.

Apart from contaminating us and killing us, THEY WANT US QUIET.

"Human dimension is not exclusive to us, it belongs to all beings: plants, fish, mountains...there lies the relevance of respect and a harmonious coexistence." We are more, we are not superior; that respect and consideration are a dimension of horizontality.

Given that everything is concentrated in Lima, Petro Peru is there, which is responsible for the oil spills. The Chiriaku River begins in the Marañón and that pollution, like the river, goes everywhere.

Networks and technologies must help us to reproduce culture, to incorporate new knowledge into who we are, without ceasing to be, to reproduce our struggles, to be echoes and strength. Not the opposite."

El País

14th of November, 2017

Over 15 000 scientists launch an alert to save the planet.

Twenty-five years after the first warning, a new appeal warns that almost all problems are now "much worse".

A group of 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have warned, for the second time in 25 years, of negative environmental trends that "seriously" threaten human well-being and cause "substantial" and "irreversible" damage to the Earth. World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice is the title of the article they signed in the journal BioScience, in which they talk about the "obvious signs that we are on an unsustainable path," although they also offer actions to try to reverse current trends.

In his view, almost all the problems that plague the planet are now "much worse" than in his first appeal in 1992.

In the last 25 years, trends in nine environmental issues "suggest that Humanity continues to risk its future," although there are some exceptions such as the stabilization of the ozone layer. This "rapid global depletion of ozone-depleting substances shows that we can make positive changes when we act decisively," they stress. 


Over 15 000 scientists launch an alert to save the planet


Human well-being remains "seriously threatened" by negative trends such as climate change, deforestation, lack of access to freshwater, species extinction and human population growth, experts write. 

However, "humanity is not taking the urgent measures needed to protect our endangered biosphere,"  according

to the article's signatories, as "the overwhelming majority" of the threats that had been described persist, and "alarmingly, most are getting worse. Scientists therefore suggest 13 areas in which to act and call for a current of public pressure to convince political leaders to take corrective action.

Some of his proposals include creating more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of laws against poaching and restrictions on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and education programs for women, promoting a change of diet based on plants and the "widespread" adoption of renewable energies and "green" technologies.

This is the second warning about the dangers of the future, which has been necessary in noting that almost all threats have intensified since 1992, when more than 1,700 scientists, including all alive and Nobel Prize winners, signed the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The second warning has been written by a new independent international organization, the Alliance of World Scientists, led by Professor William Ripple of Oregon State University's School of Forestry, with data from government agencies, non-profit organizations, and individual researchers.

Some people, "may be tempted to ignore this evidence and think we're being alarmist," says Ripple, but "scientists know how to interpret data and look at the long-term consequences. Those who have signed this second warning are not just setting off a false alarm. On the contrary, "they are recognizing the obvious signs that we are on an unsustainable path." We hope that our document will spark a broad public debate on the environment and global climate," he adds.

Although the picture looks bleak, scientists say progress has been made in some areas such as reducing ozone-depleting chemicals and increasing energy from renewable sources. In addition, deforestation rates have slowed in some regions.

Among the main dangers, the Alliance highlights a 35 per cent increase in the human population, which has counted 2 billion people since 1992, while there is a 29 per cent collective reduction in the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish. "We have triggered a massive extinction event, the sixth in approximately 540 million years, in which many of today's life forms could be wiped out or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century," they recall. Other negative trends are the 26% reduction in the amount of freshwater available per capita, the decline in wild fish catches, despite increased fishing efforts, or a 75% increase in the dead zones of the oceans.

Another cause for concern is the loss of some 300 million acres of forest, many of which have been converted to agriculture, the continued increase in global carbon emissions and rising temperatures. "It will soon be too late to change the course of our failed trajectory, and time is running out," warn scientists, who call on the rest of the community to support the manifesto.

What can you do

(or stop doing)?

Pope Francis reminds us in the encyclical Laudato si' that "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system [...]due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases [...] released mainly as a result of human activity." (LS, 23) What can we do about this statement and its implications?

1.- Inform us about the dimension and magnitude of this phenomenon. We may have heard about the greenhouse effect, climate change, global warming and even the latter phenomenon and its relation to poverty, but we are not able to spin all the arguments and really understand what is happening, why and how it affects us. The best way to start forging our own judgment is to inform ourselves. In addition to the Encyclical we can find a lot of information on the websites of universities, environmental organizations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, a reference organization in the study of the phenomenon. 

4.- From this point on, we can defend our well-informed arguments in those environments in which we relate. After all, we are defending the poorest and most helpless people, who are going to pay and are paying, the consequences of climate change as a consequence of human activity.

2.- Once we have better informed ourselves and understood what global warming is, we can ask ourselves about its origin. There are people and organizations that deny that human activity is the cause of climate change, they are a minority, but there they are. In order to get an educated opinion on the subject, it may be interesting to know who they are, what interests they respond to, where they get their money from and compare their arguments with those offered by, for example, the encyclical Laudato si' or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We can get involved in organizations and campaigns that publicize the causes and consequences of global warming and, most importantly, change those lifestyles that we know are causing the above changes. 

We can also participate in environmental awareness events, such as the one organized by Enlázate por la Justicia on January 27, 2018, to raise awareness about the causes of global warming and call for action. 

3.- If we compare this to the conclusion that the Encyclical and its proposal to assume scientific consensus on this subject is the most appropriate, we cannot fall asleep before the magnitude of the problem, we must take sides, recognize human activity as the cause of global warming and internalize its relationship with poverty.

5.- We can take a political stand for those options that assume the scientific consensus in relation to global warming and present us with decisive and courageous proposals to address its causes. But also, and perhaps more importantly, we can begin to change our lifestyle, going on to consume goods and services from companies that assume that consensus and have taken decisions to produce in a more sustainable manner.

A good bunch of options to consume according to principles and values built from information and critical thinking.


Send forth your spirit, O Lord, 

and renew the face of the earth.

Come, Santa Ruah!
Renew the face of the Earth.
Reconcile us with the air we pollute,
reconcile us with the water we poisoned, 
reconcile us with the land we fill
of asphalt and cement,
reconcile us with our brothers and sisters
who we discarded.
Renew our desires

and renew the face of the Earth!

Come, Mother of life! 
Cleanse them of the desire for power,
make us believe in reconciliation
between us and the animals
that we treat like machines,
between us and the plants
that appear to be useless to us.
Give us faith to rescue the trees,
so they don't all die.
Renew our minds 

and renew the face of the Earth!

Come, Breath of God, 
Teacher of the humble!
Inspire our lives so that we learn to live
in union with all creatures,
transform us from enemies into brothers,
of profit speculators
into friends of Earth.
Renew our hearts
and renew the face of the Earth!
Come, the hope of the poor, 
judge of the powerful!
Rescue our planet from the shipwreck,
take us out of the prison of our voracity.
Breath of life, blow on us!
Water of life, let us drink from you!
Let us become your dwelling place
and renew the face of the Earth!